Archive | July, 2012

July / August 2012 Issue

July / August 2012 Issue

- Check out all of the Fourth of July Events in the Denton area

- Those Busy Buzzing Bugs: Ways to fight Mosquitoes in the Summer

- Is That Grass In Your Yard?

Click Here to Read the Current Issue

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn S. McColpin

Ahh, summertime, and the livin’ is easy…not sure that this applies anymore in the current culture, where year-round schools, regimented children’s summer activities, and cutbacks on vacation time abound. But it’s a great song. (Thanks, George Gershwin.)

Summer brings one thing for a lot of people: moving. The end of the school year makes the months from June through August prime relocation time. What a lovely way to spend your summer days, because moving in the Texas heat makes it extra special.

Moving our homes is somewhat wired into our DNA. Early humans hunted animals and gathered plants for food, then moved to a new location when the food ran out. By 15,000 B.C., hunter-gatherers had migrated through much of the world.  Before Christopher Columbus and his band of nomads landed in the Bahamas, a different group of people discovered America: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans who hiked over a “land bridge” from Asia to what is now Alaska. Even the Europeans who settled in the United States moved south and west as the territories opened, eager for adventure and new homes.

The average U.S. resident will move a total of 12 times over their lifetime, about once every five to seven years. And it should come as no surprise that moving is the third most stressful life event, following death of a family member and divorce. While many will look forward with excitement to a new home, few will express anything positive about the actual process of moving.

First, there is the box issue. If the cost of purchasing Special Moving Boxes at a store seems prohibitive, a sort of scavenger hunt ensues. Dumpster diving for discarded cardboard becomes an art form, and buying the 40 rolls of duct tape necessary to make your looted boxes sturdy enough to go from one place to the next without falling apart is enough to make you wonder if you shouldn’t have bought those Special Moving Boxes.

Then there’s the packing, which usually starts off so well (paper-wrapped individual items and nicely-folded clothing, placed carefully in boxes which are labeled with the contents and room) but inevitably evolves into throwing drawers full of everything imaginable into whatever bag or laundry basket is still empty. It could be surmised that the majority of “moving sales” are held by overwhelmed families who just want that stuff out of there so they don’t have to pack it.

Transporting the ragtag assortment of containers and, of course, all the furniture, involves scouring contact lists of friends for whoever has a pickup truck, and begging for help in exchange for pizza and beer once the move is done. If any actually do show up on moving day, an armada of pickup trucks with throw pillows and shoes overflowing onto the highway and cars with mattresses tied to their roofs is the neighborhood’s first impression of the newcomers.

And, unbelievably to those who have spent days or weeks packing up their whole life, unpacking takes even longer. Some find themselves a year or more after the move with boxes still stashed away in closets and garages. Of course, it’s not necessary to unpack the smashed contents of the box that got dropped, which always contains a valuable heirloom and not the kitschy wedding gift from your mother-in-law.

Here are some hints to make your summer move easier: Check with local printing companies and ask if they have paper ream boxes they are planning to discard; they make sturdy and stackable moving boxes. Schedule a moving sale a couple of weeks before your move date and price things cheaply; more will be sold that way and the idea is not to make a whole lot of money, it is to get rid of stuff you don’t want to pack. Enlist the help of friends for sorting and packing; they will be more ruthless in helping you decide if you really need to keep that ceramic frog.

And start hanging out at your local country western bar. Relax and forget about moving stress, and listen to some good music. You probably won’t hear George Gershwin’s Summertime, but you might hear Alan Jackson’s version of Summertime Blues or Garth Brooks singing That Summer. You can also make friends with lots of cowboys there. They have pickup trucks.

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Gotta Wear Shades

Gotta Wear Shades

by Cait Landon

Sunglasses are not just a fashion statement; they also offer great protection for your eyes from the harsh and harmful sun rays.  They are the perfect combination of function and fashion accessory.

For the Men
Aviator style is still a hot trend to wear.  You can find a large variety with prices ranging from high low. Among the popular styles, this look seems to be the most universally favored by men.  And, we can anticipate this one being a trend for a while, which is a good reason to nivest in the better quality shades. For the bolder guy, colored lens and colored frames are on the shelves.  If you like a little bolder “see me” style, these could put the exclamation point on your signature look. And, last but not least, Ray-Ban® has done a premier job of staying in touch with the market. They are trendy, well made, and seem to stand the test of time. Total Eyecare in Denton has a great selection of Ray-Ban® sunglasses.

For the Ladies
For the fashionista, go for cat eyes (the catty look), round framed (goggle style), the ever popular square, or get bolder with an animal print frame. If you are the sporty type, this look has come a long way, with a wide price ranges and some of the most sought after buys. For the quirky,  lenses come heart shaped and are often in bright and fun colors, or bright colored lenses with frames that have patterns. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and now you have them in shade wear too.  Diamond shaped sun glasses that work well for fun and statement wear. And for boho chic, aviators for the ladies still reign supreme.

Bright and sunny days that slip into the daylight savings evenings gives us plenty of sunny hours to shade our eyes. Today’s fashion in eyewear can coordinate perfectly with your outfit to complete your look and allow you to stand out in style. Don’t forget the kids; living in Texas, you need to start them early for both eye care and fashion flair.

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How I Learned to Unlove iTunes

How I Learned to Unlove iTunes

by Caleb Wills

If you counted the hours I’ve spent painstakingly organizing my iTunes library, you’d probably think I had a touch of OCD. And I have to admit, you wouldn’t be wrong. iTunes changed my life – we were a team, me and iTunes, and I wasn’t afraid to invest some time to keep us together.

Then I discovered Spotify, and everything changed.

Spotify is a brand new way to discover, listen and share music. Imagine the ability iTunes gives you to create playlists and navigate albums with the benefit of Pandora’s huge music library. It’s millions of songs available at any time and it’s perfectly legal. If an artist is available on Spotify, you don’t have to worry about the feds breaking down your door.

Spotify is available for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. And they all sync to each other. If you create a play list on your desktop, the next time you launch it on your iPhone you can continue listening to that same playlist.

There are three types of accounts on Spotify. The first type is free. Free is free, as long as you don’t mind sitting through some commercials. The next type of account is called Unlimited at $4.99 a month. And finally Premium, which costs $9.99 a month.

I recommend and use the premium account. If you think $10 is too much, think of it like this – one album on iTunes is around $10. I’ve added about fifteen albums to my Spotify account this month, which would have easily cost me $150 had I purchased them through the iTunes store. With Spotify’s premium account I have unlimited streaming, no ads, mobile usage and offline mode. That means I can make particular playlists available to listen to when I am not on WiFi or have no wireless signal.

Another cool feature is its social sharing capabilities. You can send songs and albums to your friends who use Spotify, as well as post them to Facebook and Twitter. You can check out more information at spotify.com.

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Do I Need a Trust?

Do I Need a Trust?

by Dena A. Reecer, Shelton & Reecer, PLLC

As an estate planning attorney, clients often ask me, “Do we need a trust?”  The question is usually prompted by some common misconceptions, i.e. that probate should always be avoided, that only wealthy people need trusts, or that creditors can be avoided by transferring assets into a trust.  While those may be valid concerns and goals that can be accomplished by establishing a trust, trusts serve many more purposes.  Your estate plan should be tailored to your specific needs and concerns. This process begins with consulting your attorney to discuss your current assets and documents you may already have in place.

A trust is a method of holding both real and personal property by a trustee (which may be an individual or a corporate or bank trust department) for the benefit of one or more persons referred to as beneficiaries.   The person creating a trust is called a grantor, settlor or trustor.   The grantor of a trust may also be the beneficiary and serve as trustee.   A trust may be revocable or irrevocable and may be created during lifetime or upon death.   A trust created during lifetime is most commonly accomplished by executing a trust document containing the terms of administration and transferring title of your property to the trustee.   If a trust is established upon death, known as a testamentary trust, then the terms of the trust are contained in your will, including the nomination of trustees and beneficiaries.   A testamentary trust is frequently used to provide for contingent gifts to minors, by which you designate how the funds are used and the age at which your children receive the assets in the trust.

While trusts are often utilized to manage the transfer of wealth to your intended beneficiaries in a gift, estate and income tax effective manner, trusts are also an effective means of providing for ease of administration and management of property upon incapacity during lifetime.  In the event you suffer from incapacity, your successor trustee can step in and manage your affairs without seeking court authority or depending upon an agency agreement.  Upon death your estate will pass according to the dispositive provisions in your trust.   Another advantage of a properly executed and administered trust is bypassing the need for probating your will at death if all of your titled assets are titled in the name of the trust.  This ensures privacy of your affairs and avoids additional expense.   Trusts may also provide creditor protection for your beneficiaries and can be drafted to include special language allowing disabled beneficiaries to continue to receive income and insurance benefits.  A trust is an effective tool that should be considered as part of any estate plan.

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Pet Olympics

Pet Olympics

Get Into the Spirit of the Games

The Summer Olympics only comes around every four years, but sporting events for pets happen year round in cities across the country. From frog jumping contests to surfing dogs and pot-bellied pig races, pets prove that they can be both competitive and entertaining. Here are just a few of the competitions held across the states.

Pups Catch Waves

For four consecutive summers, dogs have been hanging ten in the Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Competition at Imperial Beach, California. Dogs don surf trunks, doggie wetsuits and bandanas and hit the waves on boards with or without their owners steering at the rear. In June, some sixty surfing dogs paddled into the waves in hopes of nabbing the title of best surfing hound. (Dogs can compete in three categories includes 40 pounds and under, 41 pounds and over as well as a doggie owner team surf duo.) For information on the surfing contest and to see videos of dogs hitting the waves go to oewssurfdog.blogspot.com.

Frogs Hop and Pigs Run

The long-standing traditions of county fairs embrace more than deep-fried food and twirling roller coasters and, if you’re lucky, pot-bellied pig races and frog jumping contests. The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the early 1800s. This traditional hop attracts frog owners from across Northern California each May to determine whether their green friend can make the biggest leap. Contrary to popular belief, people actually keep Pot Bellied Pigs as pets. As well as making intelligent, affectionate and very trainable pets they are also quick on their little hooves. Many county fairs feature pig races daily. You can watch these chubby oinkers in action at the Wisconsin State or Marin County Fair simply by going online.

Run Jack Run

The Jack Russell Terrier Trials are held each October at Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  Sure, there are the traditional show dog competitions but the real fun for these quick, agile pups is in the racing events. From the starting line, dogs follow a straight course following a lure on a string controlled by a generator. The first dog into the hay bale at the end is declared the winner. For more fun, dogs can partake in muskrat swimming races, weenie bobbing and even high jump contests.

Cat Olympics

As many cat owners know, it’s a challenge to get their tiger-like buddies to play with a toy mouse from the pet store let alone participate in some sort of cat contest. In lieu of cat games, some owners opt instead to post photographs of their purring partners participating in more cat-like activities such as Mouse Toss, Freestyle Sleeping, Relay Drinking and Bird Watching. You can submit your cat’s own unique athletic talent at catolympics.blogspot.com or check out special abilities of other cats from across the country. Let the games begin!

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